[Congressional Record Volume 169, Number 27 (Thursday, February 9, 2023)]
[Pages S278-S288]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                             CLOTURE MOTION

  Pursuant to rule XXII, the Chair lays before the Senate the pending 
cloture motion, which the clerk will state.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

                             Cloture Motion

       We, the undersigned Senators, in accordance with the 
     provisions of rule XXII of the Standing Rules of the Senate, 
     do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the nomination 
     of Executive Calendar No. 5, Cindy K. Chung, of Pennsylvania, 
     to be United States Circuit Judge for the Third Circuit.
         Charles E. Schumer, Richard J. Durbin, Debbie Stabenow, 
           Margaret Wood Hassan, Brian Schatz, Tina Smith, 
           Elizabeth Warren, Tim Kaine, Ron Wyden, Patty Murray, 
           Chris Van Hollen, Martin Heinrich, Jack Reed, 
           Christopher A. Coons, Alex Padilla, Christopher Murphy, 
           Sheldon Whitehouse, Richard Blumenthal.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. By unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum 
call has been waived.
  The question is, Is it the sense of the Senate that debate on the 
nomination of Cindy K. Chung, of Pennsylvania, to be United States 
Circuit Judge for the Third Circuit, shall be brought to a close?
  The yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from Pennsylvania (Mr. 
Fetterman) and the Senator from New York (Mr. Schumer) are necessarily 
  The yeas and nays resulted--yeas 52, nays 46, as follows:

                       [Rollcall Vote No. 8 Ex.]


     Cortez Masto
     Van Hollen


     Scott (FL)
     Scott (SC)

                             NOT VOTING--2

  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Schatz). On this vote, the yeas are 52, 
the nays are 46.
  The motion is agreed to.
  The Senator from Rhode Island.

                 Remembering Chief Vincent Vespia, Jr.

  Mr. REED. Mr. President, I rise today with my colleague Senator 
Whitehouse to pay tribute to a legendary police officer, Vincent 
Vespia, Jr., whose distinguished career in Rhode Island law enforcement 
spanned 57 years, from a young State trooper, to a top organized crime 
investigator, to chief of police.
  Vin passed away suddenly on January 24, 2023, at the age of 84, and 
we wanted to take a moment to honor this great hero--a police officer 
who was so beloved and respected by all, who practiced and taught the 
art of community policing, and who truly made a positive difference in 
the lives of countless Rhode Islanders.
  Vin was a dear friend, and I will always remember with great fondness 
the time we spent together, especially when he came down to Washington

[[Page S279]]

with his fellow chiefs of police. I deeply admired the chief, not just 
as a police officer but as a person with wisdom like no other.
  In 2012, Chief Vespia, who was still actively serving as South 
Kingstown's police chief, was honored as the first-ever inductee into 
the Rhode Island Criminal Justice Hall of Fame.
  At that time, he was well known for fearlessly pursuing 
investigations into organized crime and corruption and had already 
served 30 years as the chief of the South Kingstown Police Department. 
And he continued in that role for another 4 years.
  Vin's courage and integrity made him, quite deservedly, one of the 
most respected and revered members of the State's not only law 
enforcement community but of the State overall.
  As Stephen Pare, the former commissioner for public safety for the 
city of Providence put it, Vespia was ``relentless and honest, and as 
strong as you can be as a police officer.'' He described him as a ``no-
nonsense chief'' who was comfortable talking with anyone on the force. 
``He commanded respect because he gave respect,'' Pare said.
  And that is an apt description and high praise, indeed, but well 
  Vincent Vespia grew up on Federal Hill and then the East Side of 
Providence. He served in the Army for 2 years and worked at the then 
``new'' Bostitch factory in East Greenwich before finding his true 
calling in law enforcement.
  Beginning as a motorcycle trooper in 1959, he served in the elite 
Rhode Island State Police for two decades before becoming chief of 
police of South Kingstown.
  During his 21 years with the Rhode Island State Police Intelligence 
Unit, he focused on combating organized crime. Throughout the 1960s and 
seventies, Vin Vespia helped coordinate State and local efforts to 
successfully track, disrupt, and dismantle organized crime.
  Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Mike Stanton chronicled some of 
those stories noting that, in his words:

       Vespia grew up playing in the street with some of the wise 
     guys he would later pursue as a cop.

  Stanton tells the story of how, as a young trooper, Vespia arrested a 
former playmate from his old neighborhood with a truckload of stolen 
furs. Recognizing his childhood friend, the perpetrator asked Vespia:

       How can you arrest me? We played kick the can together.

  Vespia replied:

       You went one way, I went another.

  Indeed, he took the high road in everything he did.
  In one of his most notable cases, Vin Vespia worked for years to gain 
the trust of a known hit man in order to collect evidence leading to 
the arrest and prosecution of notorious organized crime leader Raymond 
Patriarca, the head of organized crime in New England.
  In addition to being an outstanding police officer, Vin Vespia was an 
incredible mentor. He taught generations of law enforcement officers 
the finer points of police work and leadership.
  Toward the end of his career, a local television station asked the 
chief about his legacy, and he replied:

       Forget about what I've done, what my rank was, where I've 
     worked, and the cases I've made . . . forget about all that . 
     . . if somebody would remember me as . . . a guy who tried to 
     be a good cop, [then] I'm happy.

  Mr. President, Vin Vespia was not only a guy who tried to be a good 
cop, he was a great cop.
  And when he finally hung up holster and badge, the Providence Journal 

       Hail to the chief: Vincent Vespia, Jr., ``most admired law 
     enforcement officer'' in R.I., retires after 35 years as 
     town's top cop.

  Along with Senator Whitehouse, I want to express our condolences and 
gratitude to Chief Vespia's beloved wife and partner Judy. A police 
officer's family makes sacrifices so that their loved one may serve, 
and that is certainly true for Vin's beloved family.

  And I want to recognize his children, including Renee Caouette and 
her husband Ron, Robin Vespia, and the late Rhonda Vespia.
  Chief Vespia was also a doting and devoted grandfather to his 
grandchildren: Dylan, Tyler, Dante, and the late Chad O'Brien.
  And I also salute his dear brothers, Jay and the late Robert Vespia.
  And now, I yield to someone who worked closely with Chief Vespia in a 
variety of capacities--as the attorney general of the State of Rhode 
Island, as a Federal attorney for the District of Rhode Island, as one 
of the most successful, effective attorneys and Federal officers, as 
well as State officers, in the history of our State--my colleague 
Senator Whitehouse.
  With that, I yield to Senator Whitehouse.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Rhode Island.
  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, I am delighted to join my senior 
Senator to honor our common friend, Vincent Vespia, who was lately the 
chief of the South Kingstown, RI, police department.
  He passed away on January 24, 2023, surrounded by his wife Judith-Ann 
and their cherished daughters Robin and Renee.
  As Jack said, Vinnie Vespia grew up in Providence, and he served 2 
years in the Army before returning home to Rhode Island and a career of 
service in the Rhode Island State Police.
  Chief Vespia was a legend in our outstanding Rhode Island law 
enforcement community--famously fearless in his pursuit of justice.
  During his 22-year career in the State police, Chief Vespia was at 
the center of the State's ongoing fight against organized crime, back 
in that day when the mob was a force in Rhode Island and the Rhode 
Island State Police was its counterforce.
  His courageous police work led to the downfall of some of the State's 
most violent mobsters, including crime boss Raymond Patriarca and the 
notorious Gerald and Harold Tillinghast.
  Along with his grit and toughness, Chief Vespia had style. In the 
book that Jack referenced, ``The Prince of Providence,'' Mike Stanton 
wrote that:

       One night Vespia came crashing through the second-floor 
     window of Willie Marfeo's crap game on Federal Hill from the 
     bucket of a cherry picker, waving a machine gun at two dozen 
     stunned dice players.

  Not everybody does that.
  After his successful career with the State Police, Chief Vespia went 
on to take the helm of the South Kingstown Police Department, where he 
spent the next three and a half decades.
  Chief Vespia was the longest serving leader of that department and 
will be fondly remembered for his pursuit of justice, for his 
unimpeachable sense of right and wrong, for his persistent good humor, 
and, of course, for the love and respect of that community that he 
leaves behind.
  Hearing Vinnie Vespia tell stories of his law enforcement career with 
a twinkle in his eye is an indelible memory for me, and he was a mentor 
to me, as well as to the young officers who he brought up in law 
  When Chief Vespia retired in 2016, it was widely accepted that he was 
one of the greatest to ever have worn our uniform.
  I thank him and his family for supporting him in his devoted service. 
I, like many, will miss him dearly. Rhode Island was lucky to have this 
man, and we are safer because of him and many officers he mentored and 
trained who carry on the Vincent Vespia legacy to this day.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alaska.

                             Willow Project

  Ms. MURKOWSKI. Mr. President, I was in Utqiagvik, AK, also known as 
Barrow, AK. It is the northernmost community in the United States. I 
was there for what some describe as a Messenger Feast. The Inupiat word 
is ``Kivgiq.'' And it really was a reunion, a glorious family reunion, 
where the communities of the North Slope region, all eight communities 
and actually neighbors from Canada, gather together during the winter 
to celebrate family, to celebrate community. It is an extraordinary 
  It is very similar to the sharing that they have during the summer 
months, when the communities come together to celebrate the whale 
harvest, the Nalukataq, yet another extraordinary family-type reunion 
but one of a sharing in a region that is built on a culture of 
sharing--sharing of subsistence foods, sharing of resources--and that 
is what I want to focus my comments on today, the resources within the 
North Slope region.
  As I was preparing to leave Utqiagvik on Sunday morning to go back to 
Anchorage, I was at the hotel and visiting

[[Page S280]]

with people who were gathered there for coffee. And as one gentleman 
was leaving, he said: Lisa, I think there are just two things that we 
need you to do. We need you to make sure that you protect our whale 
quotas so we can continue to provide for the sustenance of the people 
in this region, and we need for you to ensure that Willow is opened up 
for oil production so that we can continue our lifestyle.
  Some might suggest that there is some inconsistency between this 
culture of a traditional subsistence lifestyle and the harvest of a 
whale to feed entire communities and the production of oil in the 
Arctic region. And I would suggest that it is not only absolutely not 
inconsistent but absolutely compatible because it is with the sharing 
of these resources that the people of the North are able to have much 
of what we enjoy in other parts of America today: the opportunity to 
see our kids educated, the opportunity for healthcare, the opportunity 
to be safe in our communities, the opportunity to have economies.
  So I am here today to speak in strongest possible terms of the Willow 
Master Development Project within the National Petroleum Reserve-
Alaska. We just refer to it as the NPR-A. And what I hope to do, along 
with my colleague Senator Sullivan, is to further educate Members of 
the Senate and really people around the country about this project by 
explaining how it will help to benefit the nearly 11,000 Alaskan Native 
people and residents who call the North Slope home, how it will support 
good-paying union jobs, how it will reduce our energy imports from, 
quite honestly, some of the worst regimes in the world, and why its 
approval is both necessary and prudent.
  And I want to start with a little bit of background just to put 
Willow in context. Our NPR-A is a Federal petroleum reserve. It is a 
Federal petroleum reserve. Its lands were explicitly designated back in 
1923--so 100 years ago--designated under the Harding administration. It 
is an area that encompasses 23.4 million acres. It is roughly the size 
of Indiana up in the northwest corner of Alaska.
  It is home to the Alaska Native communities of Wainwright, Utqiagvik, 
Atqasuk, and Nuiqsut. These people from these communities have been 
living in this region since time immemorial. They still practice a 
traditional lifestyle, but they live in this region, and they care what 
happens in their region.
  I mention that the NPR-A is 100 years old this year. Yet it has only 
seen a few projects, and those have been in the very recent years. And, 
in part, ironically, that is because the Obama-Biden administration 
pushed for the oil companies to turn their focus there. They explicitly 
encouraged--they said: Go develop in the NPR-A--explicitly designated 
for oil and resource development. They said: Don't go in the offshore, 
don't go in the nonwilderness part of ANWR. Go over to NPR-A.
  That is exactly what ConocoPhillips decided to do. The company first 
acquired its leases for the Willow Project back in 1999. This was 
during the Clinton administration. They started developing them shortly 
thereafter, but they really accelerated that work during the Obama-
Biden administration and then moved into Federal permitting in 2018. So 
they have been seeking Federal approval for 5 years now.
  Then, last Monday, the Department of the Interior published its final 
supplemental environmental impact statement, the SEIS, for the Willow 
Project in order to address two issues that had been identified by the 
Federal court. So now where we are is, roughly, 30 days from now, in 
this time period, the Department of the Interior will be able to issue 
a final Record of Decision announcing its decision on whether and how 
this critical project should be allowed to proceed.
  So you have got this final SEIS. This is a document that has been 
worked with career BLM officials. These are scientists. These are 
engineers. They have decades of experience evaluating environmental 
impacts of proposed projects. And they, together, with all of this 
analysis over this 5-year project, selected a new preferred alternative 
for the Willow Project. They call it Alternative E.

  But keep in mind that these scientists, these engineers, these career 
Agency officials took years of analysis and very rigorous review. They 
had significant--significant--input and support--support--from the 
Alaska Native communities within the NPR-A and the North Slope Borough. 
So in other words, the people who live up there, the people whose home 
region it is, gave that input. There was back-and-forth. There was 
give-and-take. They listened to the Native people, and they worked to 
develop this Alternative E. Now, keep in mind, the Willow Project was 
already quite small when it was first advanced, in line with all modern 
development on the North Slope. But what BLM's preferred alternative--
what Alternative E does is it reduces its footprint even further. So 
from what ConocoPhillips originally wanted to do to now this 
Alternative E is they have gone from five drill pads to now three, with 
a fourth deferred to later permitting. The project will have 19 percent 
fewer road miles, cover 11 percent fewer acres, avoid further--avoid 
ecologically important areas. These were all considerations that were 
taken into place and placed into this Alternative E.
  So at this point, the total project will cover just over 400 acres. 
So I have already shared with you the size of the NPR-A. What we are 
talking about here with the Willow Project is that .002 percent of the 
NPR-A will be impacted. It will be in full compliance with all of the 
restrictions that are included in the land management plan that the 
Obama-Biden administration issued back in 2013. So under that plan, 
they effectively took 50 percent--50 percent--of the NPR-A's surface 
area, some 11.8 million acres, they took that off the table to resource 
development. That is already off. We are not talking about that. We are 
talking about the area that is available now for development. The 
Willow Project is just .002 percent of the NPR-A.
  The Willow Project itself is not going to cover all of its leased 
land, not by a long shot. There are areas that will have no 
development--no development will take place. There will be areas where 
development is only allowed with a waiver that would be required and 
areas where additional considerations will apply before any development 
takes place.
  So, again, think about this. You have got 11.8 million acres of the 
NPR-A that has been taken off the table. This project is 429 acres. 
What we are trying to develop here, the project we are talking about 
developing, is literally 27,500 times smaller than what has already 
been taken off the table. I impress this upon folks because I think it 
is important to recognize that this is an extraordinarily significant 
project for the State of Alaska--for the resources that it will bring 
to my State, the economic development that it will spur. It is 
significant to the people of the North Slope Borough who call this 
region home and who rely on the revenue and the resources.
  But as significant as it is, the footprint for Willow is miniscule. 
It has been meticulously planned to coexist with the wildlife, with the 
tundra, with the subsistence lifestyle on the North Slope.
  Think about it. You would not have the two whaling captains who were 
wandering the halls here just this week--two whaling captains from the 
North Slope who are advocating for development of Willow if they felt 
that this was going to be harmful to their subsistence activity or to 
the subsistence caribou hunter who was also being interviewed by 
reporters and meeting Members of the Senate here just Tuesday to talk 
about why he believes that this coexistence with development, as 
proposed in the Willow Project, can proceed and is compatible with 
their life and their lifestyle.
  ConocoPhillips, in moving forward with this, will have to abide by 
hundreds of lease stipulations and best practices. And best practices, 
keep in mind, when you are exploring and developing in the State of 
Alaska in the North Slope, it is not like Louisiana; it is not like New 
Mexico. They are operating in an Arctic environment, which means you 
have to work within the contours of the area around you. So best 
practices mean that exploration is effectively limited to about 90 
days--90 days out of 365. You have got a lot more time that you can be 
building. We have to use ice ropes to help facilitate the exploration 
rigs that might go out.

[[Page S281]]

You cannot be on the tundra when the tundra is not sufficiently frozen, 
but then that also means that you have got to get off the tundra as 
soon as the spring comes.

  So these conditions, this scenario, is so different than anywhere 
else that we produce in the United States of America. Even with these 
lease stipulations, even with all that has to go on, Conoco believes 
that they can make this extraordinary environmental commitment. They 
believe that this project, this Alternative E, is viable for them to 
  You know, if you are following the news about Willow, you would 
probably get the sense that the support from most Alaskans is not there 
because there are a few voices whom we see in objection. I get that, 
but I will tell you that one of the reasons--probably the biggest 
reason--that has helped the Willow project garner support throughout 
the State is that the people of the North Slope who live there have 
come forward and have said: We believe that this will be helpful to us.
  It is not just those who are living on the North Slope. The broader 
Alaska Federation of Natives has come together in support; bipartisan, 
nonpartisan entities from around the State. One of the leaders in the 
region, the North Slope Borough mayor--and I had dinner with him and 
his wife on Saturday night. Mayor Brower is not only the mayor--a 
pretty extraordinary man--but he is also a whaling captain himself and 
is strongly, strongly in support of the Willow project.
  In a letter to Secretary Haaland, he wrote:

       Responsible oil and gas development is essential to the 
     economic survival of the Borough and its residents. Oil and 
     gas activities are the primary economic generator for our 
     region, and . . . by far the most significant source of 
     funding for the Borough's community services and 

  To put that into context, when he says ``significant source of 
funding,'' over 95 percent of the Borough's revenues come from oil in 
the region.
  So when we think about our communities and our counties and where 
they may gain sources of revenue, it is pretty, pretty extraordinary to 
find any area where 95 percent of your revenues come from one single 
  And what do these revenues provide? They enable the Borough to 
provide for basic, basic services and basic infrastructure like clean 
drinking water, like education, like healthcare, like emergency 
services. The Borough does it all. The Borough is funding their own 
government, their own government to include search and rescue. I just 
mentioned emergency services.
  I mentioned that the NPR-A is the size of Indiana but that the North 
Slope Borough is pretty significant in its size and scope, with eight 
communities spread out over hundreds and hundreds of miles--no roads. 
In the wintertime, the way that you move around is by snow machine, and 
in the summer, it might be by boat. But the reality is that the weather 
is very, very harsh, and snow machiners get lost. As people are trying 
to travel from one village to the next, who is there on a search and 
rescue? It is the local community, funded by the North Slope Borough. 
These are activities that, I think, most don't think that a borough 
would be providing, but they are able to do so--they are able to care 
for their people--because of the revenues that they receive from oil.
  As one former mayor put it: Oil and gas activities are responsible 
for 200 years of development on the North Slope in the span of 30 
  I was on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee when he made that 
statement on the record.
  It is extraordinary how the quality of life has advanced since the 
days of revenue coming from our oil, and a recent study really kind of 
brings it home. It is not just about infrastructure that brings clean 
water or heat to your home, but it is what happens to one's health and 
well-being. When you have improved infrastructure, when you have 
sanitation systems, when you have medical care that these revenues have 
helped to facilitate, people are healthier, and people live longer.
  There is an increased life expectancy among Alaska Natives who live 
on the North Slope. Get this: If you were born in 1985, your life 
expectancy is about aged 65--pretty young. For those born in 2014, the 
average life expectancy is 77 years. Think about that. Think about the 
dramatic leap in life expectancy. The only thing that has changed--
because they still live a subsistence lifestyle; they are still living 
in a really harsh environment. The only thing that has changed is that 
they have access to resources that allow them to be better cared for, 
that allow them to have a quality of life that we would just accept as 
basic. I think clean running water is basic. I think a flushed toilet 
is basic. I can't tell you how many communities in my State I go to 
where they are waiting for the day--waiting for the day--that they will 
get running water and a flushed toilet--pretty basic.

  I think this is important. I have been talking a lot about the 
benefits to the people of the North Slope region, but when I mentioned 
that the Kivgiq and the Nalukataq are celebrations of sharing--the 
sharing of gifts at Kivgiq, the sharing of the whale at Nalukataq--it 
is not just the subsistence lifestyle that our Native people share. It 
is in the structure of how ANCSA really came to be such an amazing 
benefit to the Alaska Native people. ANCSA is the Alaska Native Claims 
Settlement Act. There is a provision within ANCSA, section 7(i) that 
requires--and this was agreed to by the 12 regional Native 
corporations--that 70 percent of all revenues received by each regional 
corporation from timber and subsurface estates be divided annually 
according to the number of Natives who are enrolled in that region.
  What I am sharing with you is that, of the resource wealth that comes 
from the North Slope, the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation is not the 
only Native corporation and beneficiaries to that. All Native 
shareholders throughout the State, through the 12 regional 
corporations, are entitled to that sharing of those benefits.
  Think about what that means. If you are from a region where you don't 
have the resources, think about what that means to then have sharing 
coming to you from the north. When adjusted for inflation, between 1982 
and 2015, a total of $3.1 billion was shared between the regional 
corporations for the benefit of their shareholders, and 56 percent of 
that, or $1.794 billion, came from oil and gas operations.
  So when people ask what is the benefit that you receive from the oil 
sector in Alaska, it is certainly jobs. Absolutely. It certainly 
benefits our State, absolutely, in terms of our revenue, and you have 
all heard of our permanent fund dividend. But the immediate benefit--
the real, tangible benefit--that is shared with the Alaska Native 
people is an extraordinary model. I think those of us here in the lower 
48 think that corporations are all sharp elbows, you know, wanting to 
get as much as they possibly can for themselves. That is not who the 
Alaska Native people are. The value that they bring is truly one of 
  The North Slope is an amazing place, whether it is summer or whether 
it is the heart of winter, as it was just this weekend at 30 below. I 
know the Sun was up for a brief moment in time there for a period of 
time. Everyone is very excited that the Sun is coming back. You know, 
it is dark, and it is cold. But for those who would suggest that 
responsible resource development and a subsistence way of life are 
incompatible, I invite you to go up to Utqiagvik. Go to these 
communities and hear for yourselves and see for yourselves how it is 
just simply wrong, because you will be able to see the benefits of 
responsible resource extraction and what it can mean to the lives of 
people in their communities.
  I was in Utqiagvik again this past weekend, but I was there in the 
first week of January for a memorial service for a friend of mine and a 
great, great Native leader, Oliver Leavitt. Oliver was not only the 
head of ASRC. As an extraordinary corporate leader, he helped, really, 
with the formation of the North Slope Borough, and he was a whaling 
captain. He spent a lot of time here in Washington, DC, trying to 
educate people.
  He would always get grumpy with me when I would say: Oliver, I am so 
happy you are back.
  He would say: I should be at hunting camp. The caribou are coming 
  You know, he was a man who lived in two worlds, but you listened. I 
listened. I share this. I went to the school of Oliver Leavitt, and I 
heard his stories about how hard it was for him as a

[[Page S282]]

young boy and as a young man. His job was to go out before school and 
collect driftwood so that their family home could have some form of 
  Keep in mind that there are no trees on the North Slope. It is hard. 
It is hard.
  He said: I went to school not because I wanted to learn but because 
there was heat in the school.
  He saw a transformation of what it meant for the people when they 
were finally able to get natural gas into his community and how, now, 
an elder can turn on the heat by just turning on the thermostat. What a 
concept. Well, for us, we kind of expect that, but it is just a 
reminder, again, of the benefits that come to those who live there and 
who have lived there for generations and thousands of years--of how 
they are compatible with Alaska's future here.
  The Willow project will allow development, health outcomes, and life 
expectancy all to improve--all to improve--on the North Slope.
  You think about the resources that the people need and what will 
happen if they no longer have access to those resources. What will 
happen? They are telling me, Lisa, we can't go back in time. We don't 
want to be left out in the cold. We will not be left out in the cold.
  This is not social justice. So I ask us, as we are looking at this 
particular project, to keep in mind and keep in your hearts the people 
for whom it will most benefit.
  But don't forget, the rest of Alaska and the country as a whole--they 
are also going to benefit. It is projected to create an estimated 2,500 
construction jobs. Seventy-five percent of them will be filled by union 
labor, so unions are pretty supportive of this. Once complete, it will 
support 300 permanent jobs, which then in turn spins off thousands more 
across the State and across the country.
  I mentioned the unions. If you support unions, you should be 
supporting Willow. The Alaska AFL-CIO, the Alaska District Council of 
Laborers, the North America's Building Trades Union, the Labors' 
International Union of North America, the International Union of 
Operating Engineers, the United Association--plumbers and pipefitters--
they are all on board. They are all on board and strongly supportive. 
So are countless others who recognize the importance of creating good 
jobs in Alaska and around the country to help reverse our GDP decline.
  We are in a tough place in Alaska right now. I think we are No. 47, 
if I am not mistaken, out of 50 States. We are seeing a net migration 
out of Alaska. That is greatly concerning--greatly concerning. We have 
a higher than average unemployment rate. So we are looking at this and 
saying that Alaska needs this project.
  I know there is criticism out there. You have folks who are saying: 
Nope, can't move Willow forward. We all have to address climate. We 
have to address the issue of climate change.
  Let's talk about that for just a second because you know, Mr. 
President--you have heard me talk about it. You have heard me stand up 
and say that we need to be actively working to reduce emissions and 
increase our use of clean energy. I have been pushing policies to do 
just that. But I think we also recognize that you just can't flip a 
switch. You just can't get there from here overnight. There is a 
  So I think what we need to focus on, the true choice that we have to 
face, is how painful, how chaotic do we want the transition to be for 
the people whom we serve?
  On Tuesday night, when the President spoke at the State of the Union, 
he acknowledged it. He said we are going to need oil for at least 
another decade and beyond that. I would argue it is going to be longer 
than a decade, regardless of what we do at the policy level.
  So the question is, What are we going to do to take care of our own 
needs with our own resources or are we going to empower OPEC at our own 
expense, and are we willingly going to return to the days of being 
highly dependent on foreign oil, with all of the economic, all of the 
environmental, all of the geostrategic consequences that entails?
  We have seen what happens when we make poor choices and we don't plan 
for what a rational energy transition is going to look like. Europe is 
certainly one example there. But I would suggest--let's bring it a 
little closer to home. California is another example. Alaska's oil 
production has declined. We send a lot of our stuff to California. As 
our oil production has declined, what is happening in California is 
that their imports have risen and they have risen dramatically. They 
have turned where? They have turned to countries like Saudi Arabia and 
Russia for their supply. So now that the Russian supply is outlawed, we 
saw a recent New York Times article that noted that ``one in every nine 
tanks of gas, diesel, or jet fuel pumped in California comes from the 
Amazon.'' So, really, are we OK with this? Are we really OK with this? 
I don't think California is going to be happy knowing their gas came 
from Russia. But now that we are not taking it from Russia, now it is 
going to come from the Amazon rather than from a petroleum reserve in 
  The choice here is not whether we need to continue to develop our oil 
resources--we do; we clearly do--the choice is where the source is 
going to come from. We are going to need it for decades to come. I will 
tell you, I am going to choose Alaska anytime over foreign sources. I 
will choose Alaska because we have a better environmental track record, 
because development there benefits our people there, and it ultimately 
makes it a little easier to address climate.
  So you can oppose production on the North Slope. You can impoverish 
Alaska Natives and blame them for changes in the climate that they did 
not cause. But can you really feel good about that given the autocrats 
you are going to empower around the world and the harm and the 
devastation that come?
  We have a better answer, and the better answer here is Willow. It is 
going to provide up to 180,000 barrels per day at peak production. This 
is going to help us refill our Trans-Alaska Pipeline. It is going to 
keep the lower 48 from having to import from some of the worst regimes 
in the world. So instead of importing from places with no environmental 
standards to speak of, we should be confident that the energy we need 
is coming from a project with a tiny footprint that is safely operated 
with as little impact as humanly possible. And we can ensure that the 
benefits of production go to the Alaska Natives of the North Slope and 
the communities around the State and around the country rather than 
petrocrats like Vladimir Putin.
  All we need--all we need--is the approval of the Willow project, 
which will allow us to continue to tackle climate change while 
maintaining our energy security. It is not going to be a violation of 
the President's pledges, which were--I will remind you, they were to 
allow responsible development on existing leases to occur. Well, 
Willow--valid existing leases--was approved when he came into office. 
Its reapproval next month would simply signal to Alaska Natives, to 
Alaskans, to Americans, and the world that we are serious not only 
about our climate policies but also our energy policies.
  I urge the Biden administration in the strongest possible terms to 
listen to all who support this important project, and I urge them to 
reject the false and misguided claims about impacts coming from some. I 
would urge them to issue a Record of Decision early next month 
selecting Alternative E without new limits or extraneous conditions. We 
need to get to work.
  With that, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Booker). The Senator from Mississippi.


  Mr. WICKER. Mr. President, seven centuries ago, a Chinese novelist 

       The Empire long divided must unite; long united, must 
     divide. Thus, it has ever been.

  These are the opening words from the Chinese classic novel ``Romance 
of the Three Kingdoms.'' Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, and Xi Jinping have 
drawn inspirations and quoted passages from this classic because the 
enduring prominence in the Chinese imagination can be traced back for 
centuries. They describe the long rhythm of Chinese history--a period 
of civil war and chaos followed by a period of stability. Now, after a 
century of perceived humiliation, the Chinese Communist Party believes 
it is destined to be whole and powerful again.
  That is what makes China's current ambition to ``unify,'' as they put 

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even more troubling. Just as Vladimir Putin seeks to use violence to 
reconstitute what he considers the old Soviet empire, the Chinese 
Communist Party has made it its mission to ``reunite'' all those it 
considers Chinese, including those who have gained freedom and liberty, 
like the people of Taiwan. The Taiwanese people want no part of 
Beijing's communist vision, and they fully reject the idea that Beijing 
should impose its will on its neighbors.
  Some may think Beijing has been hiding and biding its time, but, in 
fact, it has for decades been active and aggressive in expanding its 
claims of sovereignty and territory. In the last 60 years, China almost 
risked a nuclear conflict with the Soviet Union, fought a war with 
Vietnam, and engaged in multiple bloody skirmishes with India as 
recently as last month to assert their territorial claim. Today, it 
continues to make egregious territorial claims in the South and East 
China Sea, all in the name of expanding the reach of the Chinese 
Communist Party.
  Americans saw firsthand President Xi's disregard for our own 
sovereignty over the past week, as a Chinese spy balloon violated U.S. 
airspace uncontested for several days--just the latest in Beijing's 
string of provocative actions.
  To see his plans for Taiwan, look no further than Xi Jinping's brutal 
repression of the people of Hong Kong. He continues to trample the 
freedoms they long enjoyed and indeed were promised by the Chinese 
Communist Party. We should have known that the idea of ``one country, 
two systems'' was always incompatible with the rule of the Chinese 
Communist Party.
  Taiwan is the missing piece in President Xi's puzzle. Without Taiwan, 
Xi Jinping, who wants to be remembered as one of the great emperors of 
Chinese history, will have failed. And make no mistake, he cannot 
accept a free Taiwan because Taiwan, situated 90 miles off the Chinese 
coast, is living proof that freedom and democracy can thrive in a 
Chinese-speaking nation. Taiwan is a powerful advertisement for liberty 
to the 1.4 billion people who suffer under the communist police state. 
For this reason more than any other, Xi Jinping wants what he views as 
the ``Taiwan problem'' resolved on his terms.
  He and his comrades have spent the last several decades pursuing the 
fastest military buildup in history, achieving the world's largest navy 
by sheer number of vessels and by far the largest fleet of advanced 
ballistic missiles. The Chinese Air Force now flies fifth-generation 
aircraft armed with air-to-air missiles that outrange our own. The 
entire People's Liberation Army conducts advanced and realistic 
training. Our own top cyber officer, GEN Paul Nakasone, says the 
improvement in Chinese cyber capabilities is ``unlike anything [he has] 
ever seen.''
  All of the PLA's capabilities are aimed across the Taiwan Strait. 
Just last week, someone leaked a private memo from Gen. Mike Minihan, 
our air mobility chief, in which he urged troops to be ready for war in 
2025. This is 2023; he urged that they be ready for war in 2025.
  Despite all the hand-wringing, this is just the latest example of 
senior civilian and military officials who are increasingly worried 
about Chinese aggression over the next 4 years, during Xi Jinping's 
third term. Even Secretary of State Blinken last year said Beijing 
remains determined ``to pursue unification on a much faster timeline'' 
than previously expected.
  There should be no doubt that the potential for Chinese invasion of 
Taiwan is higher today than it has ever been. This raises the fair 
question of whether protecting Taiwan is feasible. Can the small island 
nation of 23 million souls really stand a chance against a nation of 
1.4 billion? The answer is that Taiwan not only can stand a chance, it 
must be able to defend itself successfully because what is at stake in 
Taiwan is not just its own freedom and sovereignty but the stability of 
the region, the stability of the world economy and our own American 
economy and national security.
  Standing tall against a powerful aggressor is no small task. We have 
seen this in Ukraine. Over the past year, we have seen the sacrifices 
of courageous Ukrainians who have taken the fight directly to the 
Russians and continually won despite many dismissing that possibility, 
including our own intelligence community. That very same heroic kind of 
resistance and the very same help from friends and allies will be 
required for Taiwan to preserve its freedom and democracy.
  The conflict in Ukraine is closely related to what will happen in 
Taiwan. Indeed, China openly supports the brutal Russian invasion. This 
reflects Xi Jinping's own ambition to launch a similar assault on 
Taiwan. He knows full well that if Putin can outlast the free world and 
get away with it, with murder and war crimes in Ukraine, his own 
chances of success against Taiwan will be stronger. U.S. support for a 
win in Ukraine enhances our ability to deter Beijing in Taiwan.

  Congress has led the Biden administration to help Ukraine in its 
fight against Russia. Now, Congress should lead once again to help 
Taiwan defend itself against communist China. In fact, for decades, 
Congress has led the effort to preserve a free and democratic Taiwan. 
But to do this work on the timeline and scale required, we need first 
to understand the extraordinary ways in which Taiwan contributes to 
American interests.
  I recently stood here and made the case for why Americans should care 
about supporting Ukraine. Today, I will pose a similar question: Why 
should Americans care about Taiwan?
  Well, they should. We should.
  First, failure to defend Taiwan would forever damage our position in 
the Indo-Pacific, calling into question our credibility and capability 
to defend other allies and partners, such as Australia, Japan, the 
Philippines, South Korea, and Thailand.
  Since the end of World War II, our allies have relied on the United 
States of America, underpinning more than seven decades of peace and 
prosperity in the Indo-Pacific. America has also benefited greatly from 
this peace and prosperity. Today, Japan is our fifth largest trading 
partner, and South Korea is our sixth largest trading partner. A 
failure to defend Taiwan would upend that stability, and our allies and 
partners could abandon America if that happens.
  Simply put, peace in the Pacific means jobs for Americans. War in the 
Pacific, on the other hand, would put American economic freedom at 
  In addition, what happens in Taiwan will have consequences for 
whether our allies decide to pursue new capabilities they have thus far 
forsaken. With open access to the Pacific Ocean, Beijing would almost 
certainly push Tokyo, Seoul, and others to seek to acquire nuclear 
weapons or perhaps even to rebalance from the United States to China. 
What this development would mean for the U.S. alliance network and 
stability in the Indo-Pacific is unthinkable.
  Our allies and partners also play a pivotal role in providing key 
military basing in the Western Pacific. With U.S. bases in Japan, South 
Korea, and now the Philippines, our national defense in the Pacific is 
strong. Without those, our national defense would start on the shores 
of Guam or Hawaii, rendering America much harder to defend, rendering 
our homeland much harder to defend.
  These allies want us in their countries. We are there because they 
have allowed us and asked us to be in their countries, and they have 
each spent billions of their own dollars to build military facilities 
for our forces. America's web of alliances and partnerships is critical 
to our success in competing with China in the long run.
  With 60 percent of the world's population, the Indo-Pacific is 
projected to be the largest contributor to global economic growth over 
the next 30 years. If we lose these critical partners, we would also 
cede a critical advantage in our effort to compete economically with 
China, a nation with five times our population and an economy nearly 
our size.
  So that is the first reason.
  The second reason: Taiwan is a linchpin of the global economy. A war 
over Taiwan, launched by China, would immediately send the global 
economy into a depression the likes of which we have not seen in a 
century. Americans would lose access to key semiconductors that are in 
our laptops, phones, cars, and countless electronic products that have 
become the backbone of daily life.

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  As our colleague Senator Dan Sullivan of Alaska said in a strong 
December speech on Taiwan, the semiconductor shortage in 2021 already 
cost Americans $240 billion and nearly 8 million cars--8 million cars 
that we don't have because of this shortage. Taiwan also exports a 
significant amount of advanced machine tools that underpin 
manufacturing jobs here in America.
  Chinese aggression against Taiwan would send shock waves through the 
economy and upend daily life here in America. It would dwarf the 
economic effects of Russia's war in Ukraine, and we need to do whatever 
we can to prevent this aggression.
  Thirdly, Chinese control of Taiwan's semiconductor industry would 
leave American supply chains extremely vulnerable to the influence of 
the Chinese Communist Party. Beijing wants to seize that lucrative 
industry in order to gain a clear upper hand in the world economy. This 
could cause massive economic pain for the United States. If Beijing 
gains control of Taiwan's semiconductor industry, it could rewrite the 
rules of the global economy. Beijing wants to dictate the terms of any 
negotiations with the United States, costing Americans tens of millions 
of jobs and stalling our economic growth.
  To sum this all up, protecting Taiwan as a free and prosperous 
democratic nation is absolutely vital to the prosperity and security of 
our children and grandchildren. Taiwan should matter to every American.
  Now, how do we ensure that a war over Taiwan never occurs--because 
that should be our goal--given what we know about Beijing's intentions 
and capabilities?
  We should be vigilant about applying the lessons we have learned in 
Ukraine. That requires recognizing the differences between Ukraine and 
  The U.S. military began training Ukraine 8 years ago, following the 
Russian invasion of Crimea and eastern Ukraine in 2014, but we have 
done comparatively little to train the Taiwanese. With Taiwan, we are 
playing catchup. We arm Ukraine through multiple land routes by rail 
and vehicles. In wartime, quickly arming Taiwan by air and sea would 
prove extremely challenging. Also, the People's Liberation Army in 
China is not the Russian military. They are much more focused and 
  So there is simply no time to waste, Mr. President. We need to get 
high-quality weapons into Taiwanese hands now, before the conflict 
breaks out. As Senator Phil Gramm and I wrote last year in the Wall 
Street Journal, we need to turn Taiwan into a porcupine so that Xi 
Jinping wakes up every day and concludes that an invasion is not worth 
the cost.
  Well, why do you say a porcupine? Any wolf has the ability to kill a 
gentle porcupine. Yet such an attack rarely occurs in nature. The 
defense of the porcupine's quills, which can rip through the predator's 
mouth and throat, is the deterrent that protects it from attack by the 
wolves. That should be our approach for Taiwan's defense.
  Last year, to begin work on this issue, Congress passed the Taiwan 
Enhanced Resilience Act. Congress provided the Biden administration 
with the ability to send $1 billion worth of U.S. weapons stocks to 
Taiwan. We also authorized up to $10 billion in foreign military 
financing with matching contribution by Taiwan. This brought to 
fruition years of work by our colleagues Senator Menendez and Senator 
  We authorized the creation of a joint stockpile, accelerated foreign 
military sales reform, expanded U.S. military training, and established 
the first-ever comprehensive oversight regime on U.S. national security 
work with Taiwan.
  Lest we forget, our friends the Taiwanese are accelerating their own 
defense for the sixth straight year, with a 14-percent increase in 
2022. Their weapons purchases increasingly align with how our military 
experts envision a correct defense of the island, including with 
Harpoon anti-ship cruise missiles, Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, and 
secure communications systems. We should encourage this change in 
Taiwan's focus.
  As Gen. James Mattis once said, we need a willing partner in the 
Biden administration to move at ``the speed of relevance''--``at the 
speed of relevance.'' Last September, the Armed Services and Foreign 
Relations Committees asked the administration some very basic 
questions: Which weapons are most important in the Pacific? What 
training does Taiwan need? What weapons is Taiwan ready to buy?
  The Biden administration has yet to respond to these questions, even 
though we know the State Department and Defense Department have 
completed the analysis. In this case, silence will only make the 
situation worse. We need answers.
  I reiterate: Congress needs this information to perform our 
constitutional duties effectively. So I am calling on the Biden 
administration today to work with us to accelerate the transfer, 
financing, and sale of a key set of military capabilities to Taiwan. 
The President needs to use the authority that Congress provided to 
transfer $1 billion in weapons to accelerate the expansion of our 
training programs in Taiwan. Make no mistake, the President's actions 
will have direct consequences for Taiwan's ability to defend itself and 
for our ability to prevent a war in the Pacific.
  Without these tools, China will continue to gain the upper hand in 
the Taiwan Strait. We need to offset and deter the Chinese military 
from taking actions in the first place. An influx of American weapons 
will go a long way toward assuring that we stand with them against 
Chinese aggression and encourage other nations to join us.
  As Ronald Reagan said, ``peace does not exist of its own will. It 
depends on us, on our courage to build it and guard it and pass it on 
to future generations''--end of quote from Ronald Reagan, one of the 
great advocates of peace through strength. That is how we will help 
Taiwan preserve its freedom and democracy and how we can avoid war in 
the Pacific.
  At the same time, the Armed Services Committee will intensify its 
focus on our own work, ensuring our military has every tool it needs to 
deter and, if necessary, defeat the People's Liberation Army. We must 
fix our munitions production problem and focus on the high-end weapons 
that our troops need. We need to modernize and expand the Air Force and 
the Navy while honing the Army and Marine Corps for their missions in 
the Western Pacific.
  We also have to explore new ideas for nuclear modernization to 
respond to the unprecedented Chinese nuclear buildup, given that our 
commanders now tell us the Chinese have more ground-based launchers for 
nuclear weapons than we do. And we must continue our work to improve 
the quality of life for all of our servicemembers and their families so 
they can focus on the tasks at hand.
  In conclusion, Mr. President, Congress has prioritized financial and 
material support for Ukraine to help turn the tide in that war. The 
security of Taiwan is no less important than the security of Ukraine. 
The threat to global and economic security from communist China has the 
potential to jeopardize the prosperity and safety of Americans here in 
the United States. It is time for our actions to reflect the 
significance of that threat.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alaska.
  Mr. SULLIVAN. Mr. President, I want to thank my good friend from the 
great State of Mississippi, who has been a fantastic leader on the 
Armed Services Committee, a fantastic leader on so many of these 
important national security topics. He and I share a very strong, 
similar, identical view on the importance of Taiwan, and we all need to 
be doing that. So I want to thank my good friend Senator Wicker from 
Mississippi for his leadership on this and so many other issues.

                             Willow Project

  Mr. President, I also want to thank my good friend from Alaska, 
Senator Murkowski, who was just on the floor of the U.S. Senate talking 
about the importance of the Willow Project not just to Alaska but to 
America. She and I are going to be down here on the floor a lot in the 
next several weeks. I was here last week talking about this project.
  Now, for those of you who haven't watched, a quick recap of the 
Willow Project: a very large-scale oil and gas project in the National 
Petroleum Reserve of Alaska, so not a controversial area at all. It is 
not like ANWR or some of the other areas in our State.

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  NPRA, as we call it in Alaska, was set aside by the Federal 
Government decades ago for oil and gas development because we need oil 
and gas. We need it. Some people out there don't think we do, but we 
do. And if we need it, we should do it in America.
  Just a quick, little summary of some of the key aspects of this: 
2,500 jobs to build this. It is ready to build tomorrow. We have 
permission. It is completely shovel-ready. Seventy-five percent of 
those jobs will be union jobs, building trades jobs. It is one of the 
top priorities of unions. I will talk about that. Peak production: 
Almost 200,000 barrels a day--highest environmental standards in the 
world, by far; lowest greenhouse gas emissions of a major energy 
project in the world, by far; billions in revenues from the Federal 
Government, from State government, for local governments in Alaska, and 
broad-base support from every group in Alaska you can imagine.
  So that is the Willow Project. We got the final EIS last week. And 
the Biden administration is still kind of saying: Maybe we are going to 
narrow this so much that we are going to kill it.
  I am going to talk about that. That would be unbelievable. I have 
tried to work with this administration and, certainly, Senator 
Murkowski has. We have made this the No. 1 issue from the Alaska 
delegation ever since Joe Biden stepped into office on day one.
  I personally raised this with the President, every Cabinet official. 
Willow is No. 1. If you want cooperation from the Alaska delegation, 
you have to work with us. We are there. We are almost there. But I want 
to talk about some of what happened last week because our good friends 
in the media, who love to write about this story, Willow, because they 
hate the project, they are biased in the project. So when the EIS came 
out last week, if you read the national media--which there was a lot 
of--guess who they quote. Guess who they quote. Do you think they quote 
the Alaskans who want it? The Native people? The indigenous people in 
my State who really want it? The unions? No. No, no, no. Our friends in 
the national media never quote them. They quote Greenpeace, Center for 
Biological Diversity. Who are the other radical groups? Earthjustice. 
All the far left radical groups--none of whom live in Alaska, by the 
way--they get fully quoted: Climate Bomb--all this crazy stuff. It is 
not scientific-based at all. But they don't quote people, in my view, 
who really, really matter--who really, really matter; particularly the 
Native people.
  You want to talk about racial justice; you want to talk about 
environmental justice; you want to talk about racial equity--buzz words 
the Biden administration uses all the time. The media does too. But 
somehow they always leave out the indigenous people of my State.
  It is wrong. It is wrong. Media is wrong. The Biden administration is 
wrong. I am going to go into this in a big way. But I just want to make 
one final point. When people talk about the science--the Democrats, we 
are the party of science--what happened last week was the final EIS 
came out, and that was the career staff at the Federal Agencies who 
came out with this final environmental impact statement. It wasn't 
great. It limited this project from five pads, which is where the Trump 
administration--their record of decision--concluded based on science 
that you can do this in an environmentally sensitive way. The Biden 
administration came out and said: No, we are going to move it to three 
pads. All right. That is the career staff. We can live with that.
  The private sector company, ConocoPhillips, can live with that. The 
Native people can live with that. We have 30 days. If you are an 
American who cares about energy security, national security, weigh in 
with BLM.gov, the Department of the Interior. Say: We have got to get 
the Willow Project going.
  If this gets limited beyond that, it is pure politics--pure politics. 
The Democrats, party of science--OK, prove it. If this gets limited 
more, it will kill the project. We know every far-left environmental 
group in the country--just read the paper--last week, they said, we are 
out to kill this thing. If this gets killed, it will be pure politics 
by Joe Biden, John Podesta--the whole group in the White House.
  So the Native people are very upset in my State because 
overwhelmingly they support this. Every major Native Alaskan group in 
the country supports this. And they can't get one quote in the 
newspaper. The Washington Post--forget it. They won't quote a Native 
Alaskan who supports it. They find the one who is against it and quote 
her. But the vast majority support it. This is the voice of the Arctic 
Inupiat. They put this statement out a couple of weeks ago. I am just 
going to read it again.
  ``Outside activists groups''--that is the ones that always get quoted 
in the newspaper. You know the ones: Center for Biological Diversity, 
Greenpeace, Earthjustice. By the way, Center for American Progress--
interesting about them--they are really against it.
  Now, why is that so interesting? That was started by John Podesta. 
Until recently, he was the leader of it. They put statements out 
against Willow all the time. Now, he is in charge of making a decision 
on whether Willow should go forward. Is that fair? Boy, I hope he is 
being objective. Imagine if the shoe was on the other foot. I wouldn't 
even want to describe what that would look like.
  So all these groups, they are always against it. But here are the 
Native people who want it. I will explain for a minute why they want 
it. So they said:

       Outside activist groups opposing Willow have drowned out--

  Certainly in the media--

       [o]ur local perspectives and are actively working to 
     supersede the views of the Alaska Native people.

  True. By the way, the media--sorry, guys, but you are helping them in 
a great way to cancel the voices of the Native people.

       This is not environmental justice or any other kind of 

  It certainly is not racial equity. It is racial cancelization. I am 

       It is a direct attack on Alaska Native self-determination.

  So that is going on right now. And it is very frustrating. It is very 
frustrating because the voices of some amazing people in my State--the 
indigenous people of Alaska--are being canceled and drowned out. And 
our national media has no problem quoting in every story the far-left 
radical enviros who want to shut down every energy project in America, 
and they won't quote these great people.
  So why do they care about this project so much? Well, it is jobs. It 
is energy. It is revenues. But you know what? It is even bigger than 
that. Here is why they care.
  I break out this chart a lot. I am going to explain it here. This is 
a chart from the American Medical Association. And what it does, it 
looks at the changes and life expectancy in America from 1980 to 2014, 
a 25-year period. Now, look, we are all Americans. We want progress. 
Where you see anywhere kind of yellow and then green and then blue and 
then dark blue and purple, that is good in our country. That means 
people's life expectancy is increasing. We all want that. We all want 

  Now, unfortunately, you see like orange and red--a couple of spots in 
America, orange, red--that is actually American life expectancies in 
the last 25 years decreasing. Nobody wants that.
  This is another topic, but that is primarily parts of the country 
that were hit really hard by the opioid epidemic. We have to work 
together and improve it. We don't want to see any orange or red here. 
Nobody wants an American's life expectancy to decrease. That is bad.
  But here is my broader commitment. What part of America had the 
biggest life expectancy increase from 1980 to 2014? Increase. My 
State--the great State of Alaska. If you look at this map, life 
expectancy--particularly in the rural areas, the Native areas, Native 
villages, Aleutian Islands chain, parts of the southeast--life 
expectancy went up 5, 6, 7--up to 13 years--13 years. The highest in 
the country. That is great. That is great.
  As I have said to many folks when we have been debating these issues 
here on the Senate floor, give me one indicator of policy success more 
important than are your citizens living longer. I have never heard 
anyone come back to me and say: Here is something more important, Dan. 
I don't think there is.
  So from 1980 to 2014, there are big swaths of Alaska where the life 
expectancy went like this. It is great. We

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should all celebrate that. Why did that happen? Why did that happen? I 
will tell you why it happened. We had major resource development here. 
We have Prudhoe Bay--the development of Prudhoe Bay--the biggest oil 
and gas field in North America, other oil and gas fields. They had the 
development of the Aleutian Islands chain with the Magnuson-Stevens Act 
for resource development on fisheries. That is a huge legislative 
change. You had mining. You had resource development, which was jobs 
and revenues. And all of a sudden, these communities were able to get 
things like clinics and flushed toilets and running water and 
gymnasiums--things that in the lower 48, in New Jersey, or other 
places, you just take for granted. We didn't have them there.
  And because we had jobs and resource development in an economy, you 
started having that, and you have people living longer.
  So I think you are hopefully seeing the point. This Willow Project is 
a matter of life and death for my constituents. And that is why almost 
everybody--the Alaska Federation Native, every Native group, every 
group in Alaska--they are all for it. And that is why we get really mad 
and frustrated--I saw Senator Murkowski down here a couple of minutes 
ago, and she was frustrated--when the big Washington Post and New York 
Times write their left-leaning, anti-Willows, and they have no idea 
what they are writing about.
  This is a matter of life and death, and they are canceling the voices 
of the people I represent, particularly the Native people. That has to 
change. That has to change.
  You know who else supports this? I had the great honor of giving my 
annual speech to the Alaska legislature 2 days ago in Juneau, AK. It is 
something Senator Murkowski and I do every year. It is a huge honor. I 
made the pitch on Willow to all the State senators, State 
representatives. And I am pretty sure we are going to get a unanimous 
joint resolution from the house and senate, Alaska State Legislature, 
saying how important this project is and how everybody in elected 
office in my State supports it. That is very unusual. In any State, you 
would have outliers. I am pretty sure we are going to get something 
  Why are we doing that? Again, to not just show the media but the 
Biden administration and the Congress that this issue unifies Alaskans. 
And we should be respected for this. We should be respected.
  So the Native people of Alaska are very strongly supportive. They get 
canceled. You even have a couple of real clueless Congressmen on the 
other side of the Congress last week coming out saying Alaskans don't 
want the Willow Project, the Native people don't. I mean, these guys 
are clueless. I forget their names--some guy from Arizona--but they are 
  I am going to make another point, which is maybe even more 
frustrating. The media doesn't want to hear from the Native voice. Do 
you know who else doesn't want to hear? The Biden administration 
themselves--the Biden administration themselves. I can't tell you how 
many times I have heard the President, Cabinet officials, the Vice 
President talk about racial equity, racial justice, environmental 
justice all the time.
  Last night, I was with a remarkable gathering of Alaskan Native 
people. This was a trilateral gathering from the people on the North 
Slope where this Willow Project is going to take place--right here. I 
call it a trilateral gathering because it was the leaders--dozens of 
them--flew 5,000 miles from here--Utqiagvik, the top of the world, by 
the way--they flew 5,000 miles to Washington, DC. We all met last 
night: Senator Murkowski, Congresswoman Peltola. And it is the 
trilateral group because it is the Tribe, what I call Inupiaq Community 
of the Arctic Slope. This is a regionally, federally recognized Tribe 
of Inupiat people, their leadership. That was one part of this 
trilateral group.

  The second part was the regional borough--like a county. That is 
right here, the North Slope Borough. By the way, it is bigger than 
Montana. That is the size I am talking about. These are elected 
officials--city council, the mayor. They are all Inupiat indigenous 
people. That is the second part.
  The third part is the Alaska Native Regional Corporation called 
Arctic Slope Regional Corporation. Remember, it was created by 
Congress. It is an economic engine. It has Tribal and heritage 
  So it was the leaders of all these three organizations, the Tribe, 
the borough, and the Regional Alaska Native Corporation--all their 
leadership. I have known these people for a long time. They are 
amazing, incredible Americans. You would love them.
  A couple dozen of them flew from right here, from Barrow, to 
Washington, DC. They wanted a meeting with the Secretary of the 
Interior, Deb Haaland. They wanted a meeting with her. They didn't get 
the meeting. You would think: Geez, it is pretty important. Do you want 
to hear the voice of the Native people? Do you want to talk about 
racial equity, racial justice, environmental justice? These people just 
flew 5,000 miles to Washington, DC. The Secretary doesn't have time to 
meet with them. That is not very respectful. They are all supportive, 
by the way--the Tribe--they are all supportive of the Willow Project.
  But here is the thing. It wasn't just this week. This group of Alaska 
Natives, the trilateral group, some of the most important people in my 
State, have tried at least five different times to meet with the 
Secretary of the Interior. They have flown 5,000 miles to Washington, 
DC, to get one damn meeting with the Secretary of the Interior. Do you 
know what? Her office has said no every single time. Environmental 
justice, racial equity, respect for the Native people--come on. It is a 
bunch of baloney--five times at least. The only time Deb Haaland has 
ever given these people an audience was when she was up there for about 
20 minutes.
  It is shocking. She is canceling the voices of the Native people of 
Alaska who want this project. They flew 5,000 miles--this trilateral 
group, the Tribe, the borough, the ANC. Nope, the Secretary is too 
busy. Nope, the Secretary is too busy last time and last time and last 
time. At least five different times they tried to meet with her. She 
won't listen. That is what I call cancellation.
  Media, you are welcome to write that. You won't, of course.
  I guarantee you that in that time, she has probably met with 
representatives from some of these far-left radical groups--probably 
dozens of times--but she won't do it.
  You want to hear some real irony? As I mentioned last week, the 
scientists came out from the Federal Agencies and said: Here is the 
final environmental impact. It was very long, very detailed, very data-
filled scientific studies.
  Remember, the normal course of business in the Federal Government is 
once you do an EIS, you have 30 days for the final Record of Decision. 
That almost always gets stamped ``approved.'' Rarely, do you have the 
Record of Decision 30 days later changing the EIS. What is happening in 
America is all these radical lower 48 environmental groups are trying 
like crazy to pressure John Podesta and the President of the United 
States to change it. That would be pure politics.
  The Democrats say they are the party of science. This wouldn't be 
science at all. This would be pure, raw political power to appease the 
Center for Biological Diversity and completely screw the people I 
represent on the North Slope. That would happen.
  Here is the real irony. Last week, BLM put out this EIS. It was a 
pretty good statement. They narrowed it more. Then, the Department of 
the Interior put out a statement. They didn't attribute it to anybody. 
Deb Haaland certainly didn't say it was her statement. It was just a 
statement from the Department of the Interior saying the Department has 
substantial concerns about the Willow Project. Wait a minute. BLM is 
part of the Department, and BLM just came out with an EIS saying it was 
good. That is weird. It is the preferred alternative in the final EIS, 
which BLM just put out, so that is really strange.
  And then they said: One of our concerns is direct and indirect 
greenhouse gas emissions. Indirect--I don't know what that means. Deb 
Haaland doesn't worry about greenhouse gas emissions from New Mexico, 
which has increased production in oil and gas in the last 3 years by 
700,000 barrels a day. Where is that story, Washington Post?

[[Page S287]]

  But they also said they are concerned about the impacts to wildlife 
and Alaska Native subsistence. They might change it based on that. But 
who are the people who understand impacts to wildlife in Alaska Native 
subsistence on the North Slope? Who are they? They are the people I was 
with last night. They are the people Deb Haaland refuses to meet with.
  So the Department of the Interior was really concerned about 
``impacts to wildlife and Alaska Native subsistence.'' She had 30 
Alaska Native leaders in DC yesterday to tell her about it. These are 
the whaling captains; these are the hunters; these are the people who 
know this issue more than anybody.
  Do you know what this is? This is just a ruse, right? If the 
Department of the Interior was really worried about impacts to wildlife 
and Alaska Native subsistence, don't you think Deb Haaland would at 
least have taken one meeting with these great leaders who are the 
leaders on Alaska Native subsistence and wildlife?
  The North Slope Borough Project has the best wildlife experts in the 
world, and the borough was here yesterday--same with ICAS, the Native 
Tribe. They were here. It is a little fishy that the Secretary of the 
Interior won't meet with these great Alaska Natives. Why? Because they 
are going to say: Madam Secretary, respectfully, we really want this 

  Let me conclude with one other voice that is being ignored, canceled, 
whatever you want to talk about on the Willow Project. I like this 
picture. I love this picture, actually. It is a very iconic photo of 
men and women--actually, it is just all men in that photo. These are 
the great Americans who built this country. This is taking a lunch 
break while they are building the Empire State Building. I think they 
built that in 18 months, 12 months, something incredible like that. The 
reason I like this picture is because there has become a theme, 
unfortunately. Some of my Democratic colleagues don't like it when I 
say this, but there has become a theme that I have seen over the 
years--certainly in Alaska and maybe not in the rest of the country--
but I think it is pretty much the rest of the country, and it is this. 
My friends in the Democratic Party used to say: We are the party of the 
working men and women, men and women who built stuff like the Empire 
State Building and build projects like Willow or the Trans-Alaska 
  Here is the thing. Whenever the national Democrats--Joe Biden, you 
name it--whenever they have a choice, a choice between the radical far-
left environmental elites who want to stop stuff and these men and 
women who build things, every time--every single time--they go with the 
radical elites and sell out the working men and women in America, every 
time. Some of my Democratic colleagues don't like it when I say that. 
Well, I am sorry, but I think it is truthful.
  I will say--and I said it on the floor the other day--I have a lot of 
Senate colleagues, Republicans and, in particular, Democrats, and I am 
so thankful, who have called and reached out to the White House and 
said: Look, you guys, come on, this Willow project makes so much sense. 
It has been in permitting for decades. Every environmental review has 
passed with flying colors. The President is really going to Saudi 
Arabia to get on bended knee to beg for oil? He is really going to 
Venezuela to lift sanctions to get oil from them, and we are not 
letting Alaskans produce it? That is crazy.
  A lot of my Democratic colleagues--I am not going to name them 
because they probably don't want to be named--I appreciate you guys 
calling the White House to say: Come on, you have to approve this 
Willow project.
  But here is the thing. Last year, I had what is called a 
Congressional Review Act on a permitting issue. The White House, 
believe it or not, after the infrastructure bill, which I supported--we 
had good permitting reform in it. After the infrastructure bill passed, 
the White House put out a rule that would make infrastructure projects 
much harder to permit, particularly energy projects.
  I brought what is called a Congressional Review Act piece of 
legislation to rescind the Biden administration rule so we could build 
things more quickly. I am proud to say, a bipartisan group of Senators 
supported it. President Biden said he was going to veto the Sullivan 
bill if it comes to his desk. All right. Mr. President, that is a bad 
  But the reason I am mentioning that now was that was a test because I 
had every building trade in America supporting my Congressional Review 
Act resolution to rescind the Biden administration's arcane rule that 
would make permitting infrastructure projects harder, and the working 
men and women said we are supporting the Sullivan Congressional Review 
Act. And guess what. It passed. Now, the usual suspects, Center for 
Biological Diversity and all the left green groups, were against it. 
That was a test.
  Whom are you with, the working men and women of America or far-left 
elite, radical environmental groups that want to shut it down again? 
That is a test. I posed it to my Senate colleagues. The Senate passed 
the test. It was bipartisan--not by much, but it was still bipartisan. 
Thank you, Joe Manchin.
  Here is the thing. Willow is another test. It is not a test for my 
colleagues here. If we had a vote on Willow right now, I bet it would 
pass well over 60, 65 Senators.
  So, again, I thank my Democratic colleagues for helping me. All my 
Republican colleagues want it done. They know it is good for Alaska and 
really good for America. But here is the thing: Once again, all the big 
building trades, all of them are coming out in huge support for the 
Willow Project. They are making it--the laborers, the building 
tradesmen--they are making it one of their biggest priorities, if not 
their biggest priority, for these people. Why? As I mentioned, 2,500 
construction jobs--that is the estimate to build this--75 percent of 
which will be labor and building trade union jobs.
  Here are just a few of the statements from some of these great 
Americans--and they are great Americans. I have gotten to know these 
labor leaders, the heart and soul of the country.
  Here is Terry O'Sullivan, Labors International, LIUNA:

       Energy infrastructure, oil and natural gas in particular, 
     is the largest privately funded job-creating sector for LIUNA 
     construction workers. The oil and natural gas industry has 
     provided tens of thousands of jobs, resulting in millions of 
     work hours for our members. These are quality union jobs with 
     families supporting wages and benefits. The same is true for 
     the Willow project.

  LIUNA, Terry O'Sullivan, laborer, pro-Willow.
  Where is that story, Washington Post, New York Times? You won't write 
it. You never write it. You canceled these twice.
  These are great Americans.
  How about Mark McManus, general president of the Journeymen and 
Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Union? Let's see what he 
said about Willow:

       It is long past time we create good-paying union jobs and 
     invest in North Slope [Alaska] communities that will benefit 
     directly from this project in the [NPR-A, as we call it].

  NPR-A set aside 7 years ago for oil and gas development. The Willow 
Project will help deliver reliable energy to consumers and provide 
billions of dollars in economic investments in these communities.
  There you go. Pipefitters.
  Come on, national media, write that story. Just don't keep quoting 
the far-left environmental groups; quote working men and women who 
built this Nation.
  Who else? James Callahan, president of the operating engineers. 
Willow will also put operating engineers to work. Those are his union 
members. He is in charge of them. He is another great American, along 
with others in the skilled trades. These jobs offer families sustaining 
wages and offer strong health and pension benefits. Furthermore, 
construction of the Willow Project will provide much needed revenue to 
Alaska and the North Slope communities, the Native communities. Another 
union leader in America.
  Now, look, the President likes to call himself blue-collar Joe and 
working Joe and all of that.
  Prove it, Mr. President. Prove it.
  This is another example of a choice. The only groups in this country 
right now who want to shut down the Willow Project are far-left, 
radical environmental groups who don't want to build anything, who 
don't give a darn about working men and women in America

[[Page S288]]

and certainly don't give a darn about the Native community on the North 
  I really wish our media friends would write this story. The unions 
support it; quote them. The Native people support it; quote them, don't 
cancel them.
  This administration needs to wake up. The American people are getting 
tired of this. This is a test. The EIS came out last week. If it is 
changed, it will be because of raw political power by far-left 
environmental groups who forced the White House to kill this project.
  I am just going to end with this. This is just an example. These are 
union members. These are broad-based groups of Alaska Native 
organizations. These are just economic groups in our State and 
nationally. This is not a hard call.
  This project has the highest environmental standards in the world, 
and if we need oil and gas, which we do, why wouldn't we get it from 
American workers, like the people I just quoted, to help Alaska Native 
communities, like the people I just quoted? Why is the Federal 
Government--Joe Biden--going to Saudi Arabia to beg for oil? By the 
way, he got rejected. Why did we lift sanctions on Venezuela, a 
terrorist regime? To get more oil--whose production processes are 18 
times more polluting than an American oil and gas project. Why? None of 
this makes sense.
  So, again, I want to thank my Democratic Senate colleagues in 
particular. We have 30 days. If you are an American and you care about 
energy security and good jobs, if you are a union member, pick up the 
phone, send an email--blm.gov--and tell them: Stop the madness. 
Finalize the Willow Project for the benefit of the Native people in 
Alaska, for the benefit of working Americans, for the benefit of our 
national security, and for the benefit of our environment. That is what 
we need to do. I am hoping that the Biden administration makes the 
right call.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Ossoff). The Senator from Michigan.

                           Order of Procedure

  Mr. PETERS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that all 
postcloture time on the Chung nomination be considered expired; that at 
5:30 p.m. on Monday, February 13, the Senate vote on confirmation of 
the Chung nomination; that if confirmed, the motion to reconsider be 
considered made and laid upon the table and the President be 
immediately notified of the Senate's action; and finally, that the 
cloture motion with respect to the Mendez-Miro nomination ripen 
following the disposition of the Chung nomination.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.